A Dark Answer to Lilac
by Abra Bertman

Now my neighbour’s field is grey with it.
I squeeze a few. Lavender on the far side of summer
is the dark answer to lilac, a hold-tight to frost,
the smell of listmaking before the snow.

The year’s inventory starts with an eye
narrowed to wet smoke caught in trees,
the smudge of partial-drowning, the thorn of near-love,
mist pooling in banks when the sun wants to rise.

Topcoat. Flint. We catalogue the shadows
given to idea. The soft bees shoring
up dangerous honey, now curling in dry nests
of damp leaves, know it is almost winter.

I’ve stopped your voice at the water
I used all summer as a glass for eagerness and breath,
but you’ve been here all year and will live through the ice
that crazes the lake’s wide edge with silence.

I crack your image with a rock and a cold black dye appears.
The moving, singing pond shudders and forgets
the many early stories that are home to stone. I miss you again
and again in the white afternoon. I miss you into night.